TITLE OF BILL:
to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to the speedy trial of
certain traffic infractions
This is one in a series of measures being introduced at the request of
the Chief Administrative Judge upon the recommendation of her
Advisory Committee on Criminal Law and Procedure.
This measure would amend the Criminal Procedure Law to authorize a
court to dismiss any traffic infraction that remains as the sole
charge in an accusatory instrument the other charges of which were
dismissed pursuant to CPL 30.30.
Traffic infractions do not fall within the offenses for which CPL
30.30 provisions apply (see People v Gonzalez, 168 Misc.2d 136 (App
Term 1st Dept 1996)). As noted in the Commentary to CPL 30.30, speedy
trial provisions do not apply to traffic infractions because CPL
30.30(1)(d) specifically applies to "offenses," and a traffic
infraction is only a "petty offense."
In practice, especially in DWI cases, a prosecutor will often charge a
defendant with misdemeanor or felony criminal charges (i.e., VTL
1192(2)) as well as a lesser included traffic infraction (VTL
1192(1)). In cases where the prosecutor fails to timely
on the more serious charges, and the defense files a successful 30.30
motion, however, the court is authorized to dismiss the misdemeanor or
felony counts but not the traffic infraction. Although constitutional
speedy limitations will still apply (see e.g., People v Polite, 16
Misc.3d 18 (App Term 1st Dept 2007), citing People v
Taranovich, 37 NY2d 442 (1975)), this generally permits a much
greater period of delay.
In the end, by not being able to dismiss the traffic infraction, the
case continues to languish in the criminal courts, congesting dockets
and rarely being resolved on the merits. To the extent that speedy
trial rules promote fair and efficient practice, it would be helpful
to grant courts the authority to dismiss traffic infractions at the
same time the court is compelled to dismiss all other charges in the
same accusatory instrument.
By this measure, we are not recommending a general speedy trial rule
for traffic infractions. Instead, the measure provides that where a
traffic infraction is charged in the same accusatory instrument with
other charges, at least one of which is a violation, misdemeanor or
felony, any traffic infraction will not survive longer than the
other, more serious, charges. Notably, this measure keeps in place
the current procedures for routine traffic infractions not filed as
pa11 of more serious charges in an accusatory instrument.
This measure, which would have no fiscal impact on the State, would
take effect on the first day of November next succeeding the date on
which it shall have become a law and apply to all criminal actions
2008 LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
None. New proposal.
2009-10 LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
Senate 5961 (Schneiderman) (Codes)
Assembly 7960 (M. of A. Perry (PASSED)